His Hummingbird

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The day had been dreary so far. The cold. The damp. The boring wait for the car’s repair. The need to keep her body still and her mouth from chattering.

Gran did not let her wander. Or climb. Or touch things.

“You’ll get filthy.” Gran had stated. Like an ultimate sin.

At first Beth did try to argue. Daddy always said that filth is easy to wash off and that a bit of dirt was no excuse for sitting out good fun.

Gran did not think highly of Daddy.

“What judgment that man could have had in him,” Gran grumbled, “he’d given it up when he chose to leave my uterus early … and it only went downhill from there.”

Or up, Beth thought. He had promised to watch over her. Before the angels called.

“My Hummingbird,” he’d called her.

Her eyes rested on the sign. She smiled.

Hi Daddy.

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

All Things Considered

 

All things considered, she had everything she needed.

More than she thought was there, really. More than some might consider necessary.

She leaned back in her chair, then leaned forward to straighten a stray implement. Adjust another.

“Orderly desks make orderly minds,” Papa always said. Pointedly.

She might not manage to get much order in the latter, but she sure could try to tame the chaos of the former.

And it did look better organized, she had to admit.

Now, if only the desk could fill loan applications. Or order funds to her account so she could pay the bills.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Photo prompt: Jan Wayne Fields

 

 

 

Watching

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“See there?”

Marie squinted against glare. “The windmills?”

“No.”

David’s finger shook along with his head, and Marie felt the wheelchair’s handles vibrate. The sorrow hit her, unexpected as always. Most days now she managed to surf life without being blindsided, but it was harder to do in this place, his favorite, where everything reflected the losses. His. Hers.

“The bird,” David insisted, his reedy voice robotic with timed inhalation.

His inflection was one of the first things to go, and its absence had robbed away a part of David that she’d adored from the moment he had first looked at her, dewy-eyed from birth, and mewled a symphony of baffled indignation.

“Ah, yes, the bird on the poles! I see it now,” she filled the space with words to compensate for his worsening inability to speak in sentences.

“Watching,” David exhaled, satisfied.

For the end? Marie silenced her sigh.

 

 

 

For Crispina‘s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Note: Dedicated to all parents and caregivers, and to all who are navigating the throws of progressive illness. May you find peace, and space to breathe in, and may you know moments of joy and an abundance of love through life’s difficult path.

 

Not Forgotten

 

It was his favorite saying, so of course it was the one they chose. Never mind that no one else would understand the meaning. “Others,” he’d say, “have their own stories to hoard or trim or bloat or be rid of.”

They knew that no matter how far Heaven was, he’d see this and smile.

He’d taught them to let go of what held them down.

“Gone!” he would announce, tossing fistfuls of dirt to the wind to aid the transformation. “You’re free of this. You can move on!”

His motto gleamed above the desert sand.

Gone, but not forgotten.

 

 

Photo prompt © Trish Nankivell

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

All Color Gone

 

They will not be coming home.

She paced the few steps from her door to the deck’s edge and back again. She gazed up at the washed out sky. Watched as the shadows encroached on the small lawn to blanket the rocks in the graying garden. Her breath was heavy in her chest.

They will not be coming home.

With every blink, the hues were fading. Taking with them memories of laughter, of pitter-patter, of wet wool and hot cocoa steaming by the fire.

The telegram emblazoned in her mind.

The boys will not be coming home.

All color gone.

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all those who knew and know such loss.

Photo prompt: © Sarah Potter

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Not Much Sweeter

ccc105 CrispinaKemp

 

There was not much sweeter than Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. Then again, there was not much that was sweeter than honey. Berries, perhaps, in their short season. Or maple syrup, when they found it. But there were not many maples left anymore, and those she knew of were not particularly generous with their sap now that they had to parse energy for growing.

But there was Grandpa Gulliver’s honey. The slow pouring amber liquid of deliciousness. As valuable and as glorious as gold. The warmth of happy in her mouth.

Grandpa Gulliver had built Hive Homes for the bees. Tiny mansions of industry where workers and queens could shelter from the rain under eaves that shed the snow and cut the wind.

She used to watch the ins-and-outs for hours. The buzz. The promise.

Now they stood desolate.

No bees. No Grandpa Gulliver.

Who knew they’d all be taken, sweetness gone?

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

Aftermath

bricks CrispinaKemp

 

“This is all that’s left.”

Marshall nodded and surveyed the area, hands clasped behind his back in a show of control that did not quite hide his devastation.

Danielle caught Sandy’s eye and the latter blinked acknowledgement. Marshall’s white-knuckled grip and the way he rocked ever so slightly on the balls of his feet communicated volumes. Danielle didn’t think he trusted his voice.

The moment stretched.

“We did find some items scattered farther on,” Danielle pressed, distressed by his unnamed grief.

“Mostly parts of items,” Sandy clarified. Won’t do to raise hopes when they already knew nothing was salvageable.

Marshall lifted his head and gazed at the path of destruction the freak storm had left on the barrier island. A quietude spread inside him. An ebb and flow of sorrow and release.

“Thank you ladies,” he told the county’s disaster inspectors. “Mother Nature had spoken. I will not rebuild.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Dining Duo

 

“Remember when we used to come here all the time?” Lisa rested her chin on her palm, elbow propped onto the tablecloth, and dreamy eyes gazing out the diner’s window.

Her mother nodded, throat too full of ache to speak. She signaled for the check. Lisa looked so much like Gloria in that posture. The two had the same mannerisms, the same coloring and freckled cheeks, even the same tone. The niece’s resemblance to her aunt had been a source of joy. Still was. Always will be. But there was loss there, too.

Now that Gloria was gone.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(photo prompt – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields)

 

Tommy’s Sign

(Photo prompt © Roger Bultot)

 

She was never going to be ready. There was never going to be the ‘right time.’ He tried. He really tried. But he couldn’t stand it anymore.

When she left to visit her mother, he took it downstairs. The recycling truck should pass before her return, and by then it will be done. It was for the best. She’ll come to understand.

The key in the door in the morning. “I took an earlier flight. And, can you believe it? Someone tossed a highchair just like Tommy’s! I know it is a sign from him to hold on to ours!”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Endless Flicker

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Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

 

Candle lighting

The edge

Of the world

And the margins

Of time

To the endless

Flicker

Of loss.

 

[For Kathryn: you became light eight years ago today. We all loved you. We all love you more.]

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Endless in 18 words